South Africa elected to UN Human Rights Council


The United Nations General Assembly on Tuesday elected South Africa, Algeria, Bangladesh, Belgium, Chile, Costa Rica, Georgia, Kyrgyzstan, Maldives, Morocco, Romania and Vietnam to the Human Rights Council for a three-year term, starting on 1 January 2023.

Assembly President Csaba Kőrösi named Algeria, Bangladesh, Belgium, Chile, Costa Rica, Georgia, Kyrgyzstan, Maldives, Morocco, Romania, South Africa and Viet Nam to serve for three years.

Germany and Sudan secured second terms.

According to the UN, South Korea and Venezuela failed to be re-elected to the top human rights body, which is based at the UN in Geneva.

So what is the purpose of the UN Security Council?

Essentially, the council is tasked with the responsibility to uphold and advance human rights globally and consists of 47 member States, elected via secret ballot by the majority of General Assembly members.

According to the UN, their selection is based on equitable geographical distribution, and seats are distributed among regional groups of States from Africa (13); Asia-Pacific (13); Eastern European (6); Latin American and Caribbean (8); and Western European and others (7).

Growing security challenges

The UN Human Rights Council will have its work cut out for it as growing insecurity, conflict and climate change challenges compound an already bleak picture in a post-Covid world for many nations.

In 2018, the US quit the council in June, saying it made a mockery of human rights.

But UN human rights council defenders say it does vital protection work around the world.

For a number of years, the UN human rights council has been criticised for electing countries with a known record of human rights abuses.

Campaigners in 2018 had urged UN member states to oppose the candidacy of the Philippines and Eritrea and said the choice of Bahrain and Cameroon raised “significant concerns”.


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